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Pledge to protect parents' rights in child referral process


Parents who come into contact with social services when concerns are raised about their children, will in future be kept better informed about their rights. 

The pledge has been made by the Head of Safeguarding at the Department of Social Care Deborah Brayshaw, who's been giving evidence to a Tywnald scrutiny committee.

The Social Affairs Policy Review Committee heard that parents whose children are referred haven't always been told initial assessments on them are voluntary, except in the most serious cases.

Data Protection Supervisor Iain McDonald also giving evidence, said  families had complained to him that they had not been made aware the assessments could have been refused.

Mr McDonald raised concerns that department officials have not obtained formal consent from parents for the collection and use of information by government agencies.

Ms Brayshaw defended the department's decision to conduct assessments in hundreds of cases of 'low level' concern but pledged to involve parents more in the referral process in future.

Mr McDonald outlines his concern and Ms Brayshaw the action she proposes to address it in this combined audio clip:  


Clip 1

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